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Minutes for SB157 - Committee on Judiciary

Short Title

Creating presumptions related to temporary parenting plans and defining related terms under the Kansas family law code.

Minutes Content for Mon, Mar 9, 2020

Natalie Scott provided an overview of SB157. Ms. Scott stood for questions. (Attachment 6)

Proponent

Ron Holm testified in support of the bill. Representing Family Preservation Coalition. (Attachment 7) Mr Holm explained his organization feels strongly that common sense ideas of presumption equality affords children a legally defined right to receive love from both parents, sheltering them from the anger, animosity, and conflict sadly present in such tragic circumstances, and restricts the practice of unilaterally tearing children from a loving parent. Mr. Holm suggest an amendment which is contained in his written testimony.

Senator Oletha Faust-Goudeau testified in support of the bill. (Attachment 8) Senator Faust-Goudeau explained allowing kids to spend time in both of their parents' homes will benefit kids in helping them to feel less like they are forced to take sides. It will also help kids understand that they were not abandoned by either parents after they split.

Senator Richard Hilderbrand testified in support of the bill.  (Attachment 9) Senator Hilderbrand spoke from a personal experience explaining that with today's process one parent is left completely out of the temporary process and only informed after decisions have already been made. It often is traumatic for the parent left out of the decisions and especially the children.

Mark Ludwig testified in support of the bill. (Attachment 10)  Mr. Ludwig explained is own situation and the injustice of being separated from his son. He made a point regarding the push toward equlity with women in the workforce, equality with race and gender and stated it is about time children have the right of equality to both of their parents.

Maddi Conner testified in support of the bill. (Attachment 11) Ms. Conner spoke from the perspective of not only being a child of divorced parents who worked to co-parent after their divorce, but having step-siblings who experienced the hurt of having parents who could not agree on shared parenting because their anger and emotion of their own situation prevented them from making good choices for their children.

Chris Batcheller testified in support of the bill. (Attachment 12 )Mr. Batcheller stated in over 50 scientific and clinical studies it has shown that kids who experience less conflict during a divorce and have shared parenting after divorce are healthier, at lower risk for a number of social problems, and they become better citizens.

Dennis Fontelroy testified in support of the bill. (Attachment 13) Mr. Fontelroy is an advocate for families for the past 12 years stating the clear pattern of female focused systems of care and the unsupported assumptions that males are less than competent parents has led to the myriad of societal ills and 24 million kids going to bed without the biological father in the home. He explained the disparity in time spent away from his kids has caused much unnecessary psychological and metal anguish for his children.

David P Schneider testified in support of the bill.  (Attachment 14) Mr. Schneider explained his personal situation which required him moving and personal resources that many parents do not have to gain access to their children.

Pam Ippel testified in support of the bill.  (Attachment 5) Ms. Ippel explained her experience of the pain being separated from her grandchildren is not unique. The departure from what had been normal for her grandchildren was extremely unfair to her son, the children and her. Ms Ippel believes most parent love their children and want to be active in raising them. 50/50 custody will put lives on the right track in the event of divorce.

Chairperson Patton directed the membership to refer to the written testimony provided in their bill folders.

Proponent Written

  • Vicky Kaaz, Constituent  (Attachment 16)
  • David Bayouth, Constituent (Attachment 17)
  • Jerome Marquez, Constituent (Attachment 18)
  • Maura Gathers, Vice Chair Executive Committee, National Parents Organization  (Attachment 19)
  • Karen Skillman, Constituent  (Attachment 20)
  • National Parents Organization, 84 individuals submitting testimony in this group:  (Attachment 21) Members: Randy Pauls, Corey McKinney, Jerod Metcalf, Donna Gomez, Joey Camp, Tara Parker,  Nicole Beliles, Bonnie Forth, George Meier, Shane Pickett, Jeffrey Masterson, Amy Rogers, Melody Lindley, Kenny Womack, Ivan Trail, Hayley Parker, David Owens,  Brett Callaway, Joellen Owens, Armando Matute,  Andrew Malone, Kyle Yoksh, Greg Gathers, David Stevens, Brian Helms, Kayla Wood, Matthew Douglass, Steven O’Neil, Jarod Howard, Thomas Britton, Deshaun Smith ,  Tracy Kinderknecht, Judy Brown, Troy Oliver, Cesar Torres, Kylie Ligjt, Sharon Hines, Westley Kendall, Rachel White, Jennifer Rutz , Gavin Edwards, Teresa Duncan, Jack Basgall, Cindy LeMay, Tracey Armstrong , Sierra Wherrell, Gayle Tacha, Mallory Phillips, Norman Bouser, Zachary Demaree, Matthew Dutton, Nathan Wellman, Yadira Torres, Kassondra Juenemann , Renee Soberano , Paul Schwennesen, Tammy Thomas, William Mitchell, Angela Weber, Gina Salazar, Brian Helms, Dustin Chrislip, Jason Fellers, Amanda Sharpnack, Shawn Levis, Levi Kinderknecht, Luke Forth, Randy Ware, Mark Aaron, Nicholas Nickles, Levi Schmaltz, Richard Caswell, Merlyn Entz, Brian Forshee, Jonna Jenkins, Brian Littrell, Julian Wherrell, Michael Buescher, Frank Crawley, Margaret Goldizen, Kelsie Hudson, Craig Tuttle, Penny Lamb.

Neutral Written

 

Opponent

Honorable Keven M.P. O’Grady testified as an opponent for the bill. (Attachment 24)  Judge O'Grady explained that the bill is neither necessary no helpful in most cases. The current process is very straightforward. Throughout the existing statutory framework, the best of the child/children are emphasized.

Ronald W. Nelson testified as an opponent for the bill. (Attachment 25) Mr. Nelson summarized by saying child custody litigation should not be made more hostile, conflicted, and angry than it already is in too many instances. Child custody orders are not about what is "fair" for parents, it is about what is best for the children.

Sara Rust-Martin testified as an opponent for the bill.  (Attachment 26) Ms. Rust-Martin indicated an upfront presumption would not allow a judge to address issues of safety. If this bill is passed, KCSDV's concern is this bill will mostly impact victims of domestic violence and their children, Where the cases are contested and agreements cannot be reached for safety reasons.

Charles F. Harris testified as an opponent for the bill.(Attachment 27)Mr. Harris stated this bill will be harmful to parents and children of Kansas. This bill is a giant step backward in how we handle the important issue of child residency in Kansas. Current law in Kansas does not show a preference for either parent but is based on the best interest of the child.

Kimberly Mancuso testified as an opponent for the bill.  (Attachment 28) Ms. Mancuso stated she had been in litigation with he ex-husband regarding custody for years. This litigation not only was about custody but also about domestic battery. She urged committee members to oppose the bill.

KellieLynn Mancuso testified as an opponent for the bill.(Attachment 29) Ms. Mancuso explained she was in a family of divorce and where abuse occurred on a regular basis. She explained automatic shared parenting takes away the incentive of parents to really work out the best custody arrangement for the children and puts children at risk. Every case is different and should be decided by the judge without a per-existing presumption.

Chairperson Patton directed the membership to refer to the written opposition testimony in the bill folders.

Opponent Written

Chairperson Patton closed the hearing.

Chairperson Patton adjourned the meeting at 5:28 pm.